I am an uptight person. There, I said it. What do they say? That the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem in the first place?
For those of you that know me in real life it is not a total surprise. I run a pretty tight ship. My work desk is spotless and I could pack it all up and leave it pristine if I had 2 minutes and a banker’s box.
When it comes to work stuff being uptight is actually a good thing. But once you have figured out all of the work stuff and your life is basically under control it is time to find some Zen.
Somewhere along the line I became interested in Zen/Buddha ideas and sayings and paraphernalia.
In one of my old houses I had a mantle from an old fireplace in my bedroom. I got my first Buddha statue shopping on Main Street in Oshkosh. There is a shop called Satori Imports that has lots of good stuff if you are ever in need of a glow in the dark Frisbee, a gigantic bong in the shape of a dragon or Buddha statues. Right now if you spend a 100 bucks you get a free sweatshirt that is totally awesome. I want one bad. I haven’t spent the 100 bucks yet but I am tempted to buy a gift certificate just to get the sweatshirt. It’s that good. Seriously.
So, my first Buddha was a gift from a sweetheart. Over the years he would give me many others as a surprise, usually for no good reason. I had a whole bunch and I really loved them.
Then some bad stuff happened and I got mad. As in majorly pissed off and for good reason. I swept all of the Buddhas into a box and returned them to sender. I know, I know….you are thinking “Jeez, Gypsy Girl Jilly you are so dramatic!”
I do regret it now.
Anger is not a good thing.
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
I especially like the drinking poison one.
Just so you know how the story ended. We did eventually make up and the Buddhas were offered back to me as a good will gesture. At that time I said no because my feelings were hurt. (Me being my stubborn, hardheaded self. Totally un-Zen. Shame on me.) Last I heard they were living in a box in the closet. It’s been awhile so perhaps they have found a new and happier home. I hope so.
So a few years passed and I found that Buddhas were making an appearance back into my life. This is a good thing. Basically, the whole Zen thing is about acknowledging the present. Breathe.
The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment.
For me, the biggest challenge is not living in the past. If you spend all of your time looking in the rear view mirror you can’t see what is up ahead. ‘Would-A, Could-A, Should-A Syndrome’ (WACASA) is the worst!
I used to sometimes think about what I would do differently in life. I would think about decisions and events… it was amazing how far back I was willing to go in the time machine. Way, way back folks. That is like erasing your whole life. That is crazy and ill-advised.
Zen really helps fight the WACASA.
My Mom is a wise lady. She has these little sayings that kind of help in times of crisis or sadness. She is very masterful in knowing when you need a hug or a good swift kick in the derriere and knows how to administer both.
Life goes on.
Something happens after you turn 40. On the one hand everything that happened in the first 40 years has kind of dictated your current everyday living (read The Grind for further details) with the other hand being that there is some light at the end of the tunnel in which you are now considering what you will do in the second act of life. It is a time for thought not necessarily action. This can be a difficult time if you are like me, a little restless and craving adventure.
This is the time for Zen.
It really is the little things/stuff that matters. It is a recurrent theme in my blogs. I always need to remind myself.
I don’t have any children, but my friend’s children have been pretty fun along the way.
Kids seem to live the Zen way until we adults re-program them.
They speak the truth and tell it like it is. They cry and get mad and melt down and then they get over it and go out to play. They live in the moment. They forgive and forget. They make do with what they have. You got a stick? I have a ball…let’s play stickball!
These are the things that typically are not for sale but come free as long as you are present and available.
(I got the present and available idea from an interview that Charlie Rose did with Bill Murray and Bill was explaining his amazing career…something to the effect that “he was present and available.” I think the interview can be found on Netflix. It’s worth a look.)
It is better to travel well than to arrive.
It is a very difficult task to live in the moment if you are a planner. In my family, arriving on time means arriving ten minutes early. Trust me, if I give you directions you will not become lost. Sometimes the ‘plan’ gets in the way of the actual doing.
Not all planning is bad.
In modern times, it is essential to plan a little bit especially if you are a woman with good genetics. I mean, I don’t want to have to eat cat food as an old woman because I am broke and didn’t plan ahead. Luckily, I have a trusted friend and financial advisor who takes care of all of that for me. I just have the dough siphoned off before I see it and figure it’s in good hands (not mine.)
What is the Boy Scout motto? Be prepared.
Be a Zen Boy Scout. That would be good.
P.S. So, I bought myself a new Buddha statue. It’s a happy one. I also got one for a friend for her birthday. It has a belly you can rub for good luck. I hope she likes it.